Though you are allowed to watch as many movies and TV shows on Hulu as you want, you should still monitor and regulate your Hulu usage. This is because your Internet service provider (ISP) may impose limits on the amount of computer information that you can transfer over your Internet connection (commonly referred to as “data” or “bandwidth”) per month. If you go over that limit, your ISP may charge you extra money on your utilities bill and/or slow down your Internet connection.
How much data does Hulu use?
Fortunately, among its competitors, Hulu is one of the most economical video-streaming services when it comes to data usage. An hour of watching video on Hulu at the highest quality requires about 650 megabytes — or 0.65 gigabytes — of data. By comparison, Netflix requires anywhere from 1 to 3 full gigabytes of data per hour of video. Assuming that you had a 250-gigabyte monthly data cap, and the month had 30 days, that means that you could watch about 13 hours of video per day at the highest quality on Hulu!
This, of course, is dependent on other factors as well, including how fast your Internet connection is. It also assumes that you’ll ONLY be using the Internet to watch Hulu and not for anything else (which, in all likelihood, will not be your situation).
Tips for managing your Hulu data usage
If you’re really worried about how much data Hulu is using — for instance, if you’re using another Internet service that requires a lot of data, such as another video streamer like Netflix — then there are a couple of tricks that you can use to manage your data usage.
1. Reduce the quality setting of the videos that you watch
While you’re watching a video on Hulu, you can change its resolution quality. Simply click the Settings icon in the Hulu video player, and under “Quality”, select Low, Medium, High, or Auto.
Auto will adjust your video quality to be as good as what Hulu thinks your Internet connection speed can handle. If you want to save data, you can intentionally set your video quality to Low. The video will appear a little bit grainy, but not so bad as to be totally unrecognizable.
See our How to Watch Hulu on Computer tutorial (here) for more information about using the Hulu video player.
2. Contact your ISP and ask about your Internet data usage
Common companies that provide Internet connections and other home telecommunications services include Comcast, Shaw, Verizon, and Time Warner Cable. Find out which of these (or perhaps another company) sends you your monthly Internet bill, and contact them to find out how much Internet data you use each month. More importantly, ask them whether or not you have a limit on your monthly Internet usage. If not, ask them if the monthly cost of your Internet usage is tied in any way to how much you use it. This will give you some guidelines that you can use to plan your monthly Internet use.
3. Use a data calculator program to estimate your Internet usage
There are some websites and programs, such as on cableone.net, that allow you to estimate and plan your monthly Internet data usage. Just set a data cap, plug in the number of hours that you use the Internet for various activities per month, and then see if you’ve gone over your cap. This will show you the areas in which you need to cut back your Internet usage.
That’s a bit of information about how much data Hulu uses, and how you can manage it!